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Scand J Work Environ Health. 2003 Dec;29(6):411-30.

Eye irritation and environmental factors in the office environment--hypotheses, causes and a physiological model.

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  • 1Department of Indoor Climate, National Institute of Occupational Health, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The study reviews eye irritation using a multidisciplinary approach. Potential risk factors and objective gender differences are identified, and possible hypotheses for eye irritation caused by indoor air pollution are discussed. Eye irritation depends somewhat on destabilization of the outer-eye tear film. An integrated physiological risk model with blink frequency, destabilization, and break-up of the eye tear film as inseparable phenomena may explain eye irritation among office workers in terms of occupational, climate, and eye-related physiological risk factors. Certain volatile organic compounds that are both chemically reactive and airway irritants may cause eye irritation. If airborne particles alone should destabilize the tear film and cause eye irritation, their content of surface-active compounds must be high. Personal factors (eg, use of contact lenses, eye make-up, and certain medication) may also affect destabilization of the tear film and possibly result in more eye symptoms.

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